Is it time for your first car trip with your baby? Or have you bought her along for a trip before, and it was just plain awful the entire time?
Here are three tips for new parents to make things go smoother.
1. Start packing the night before you leave. Before you do anything, sit down and compose a list of every baby item you'll need – food, diapers, three times as many clothes as you think you need, toys, blankets, collapsible crib or playpen, etc. Begin packing the things. As you pack, you'll remember more … be sure to add them to the list. Tape the list to the door you'll be leaving from so it will be the last thing you see as you leave. Do not forget to take it with you as you'll need it for your return trip.
(Note: Do not throw the list away! Keep it in a safe place for next time.)
2. Do your best to accommodate your baby's schedule on the trip. If she normally eats at noon and then naps for an hour or so, try to keep it that way. Your goal is to have her sleeping through most of the ride. But also be ready for her to be wakeful and active, so be sure you have a few toys in the back seat. We've had luck with hand-held toys that make sounds and light up. A light blanket is also a good idea to drape over the car seat to soothe a fussy baby.
3. Ensure that your relatives will respect your wishes. Try to plan out your stay ahead of time and let everyone know about sleeping and eating schedules, bedtimes, etc. Also make it a point to not have too many outside visitors. Too much company is very stimulating on small babies and upsets them.
Also, be sure wherever you'll be staying is baby proofed and safe. Are there stairs? Hard floors? Are you staying in a motel? Know your environment ahead of time and do your best to make it baby ready.